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Ashes 2019: Ben Stokes’s helmet shatters after vicious Josh Hazlewood bouncer

 

Ben Stokes is hit on the helmet by the ball causing it to break. (Source: Reuters)

Ben Stokes had his helmet shattered into pieces after being hit on the head from a vicious Josh Hazlewood bouncer in the fourth over of the fourth day of the third Ashes Test at Headingley on Sunday.

Chasing a target of 359, England captain Joe Root and Ben Stokes came out to bat with the score on 156/3. After three maidens overs, the match was given some life, albeit dangerously, by Hazlewood’s 135 kmph short ball which severed Stokes’s neck-guard from the helmet.

Facing the short ball on the fifth ball of the 75th over, Stokes’s attempted hook went wrong as the ball hit the helmet which detached his behind-ear protectors from the either side of it. The guards were sent flying in every direction, forcing the 28-year-old allrounder to take a moment to himself, aided by the England physios.

Before the third Test at Headingley, Ben Stokes had installed separate stem guards as a safety precaution, considering how Australian batsman Steve Smith was ruled out of the match due to concussion.

Smith suffered from concussion on the fourth day of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s after being struck on the neck by a fearsome 148.7 kmph bouncer of England quick Jofra Archer. Before the start of the fourth afternoon at Leeds, the Australian batsman was seen gaining his fitness at Headingley.

Smith’s substitute then, and his replacement in the ongoing Test at Leeds, Marnus Labushagne also came across the same fate, as he was hit on the head twice on Saturday by Archer. Labuschagne required medical attention the second time around when the England pacer’s ball hit his helmet’s grille. However, that didn’t dampen the Australian’s spirits as he went on to score a fine 80 runs in the second innings to set a handsome target of 359 for England to chase.

Meanwhile, England have already lost Joe Root for 77, early on the fourth day of the Test because of a brilliant catch by David Warner at slip, handing Australian spinner Nathan Lyon his first wicket of the second innings.

With Root departing at 159/4, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow have quickly formed a 50-run partnership in just 58 balls. England need less than 150 runs to win the third Ashes Test.